That elf on the shelf that we have - he/she's a fraud. Nothing magical about it at all.
My kids have done the following to each other since he/she's arrival:
swore (new phrase from my daughter while doing homework last night was "Suck it". You heard me. Suck it. I think she saw the horror in my eyes and said, "Is that bad?")
and all around ignored my threats that Starlight is watching and will tell Santa everything.
So if you are thinking of spending the cash, don't bother. And for those who watched Modern Family last night - can you really follow through on canceling Christmas, cuz I'm just about there?